Chelsea’s top two attacking targets didn’t “justify” transfer fees with their “numbers” claims insider

Simon Johnson’s piece for the Athletic this morning is all about a transfer which didn’t happen.

Chelsea had been chasing Michael Olise pretty intensely for a few weeks, and all indications from insiders all over was that a deal was going to happen.

But suddenly, just when it seemed like we were getting to the stage of sealing it, news came down from the high altar of David Ornstein that the whole thing had collapsed as Chelsea considered the whole package too expensive.

This has led to an explosive reaction from fans, as you’d expect. They largely grew up with Chelsea as the big spenders in world football, rarely (if ever) outbid and never pulling back from a player they really wanted simply because of cost. This brave new world is hard to swallow.

Nico Williams with Chelsea and Arsenal logos.

A tough new stance from the Blues

Johnson’s piece tries to explain a little further. He notes that Nico Jackson won’t be joining either because “the combined sum for fee and salary is seen as being too high.”

“Chelsea have sent out quite a strong signal to the market. When it comes to salaries, they do not operate a ‘money is no object’ policy.”

Despite that, Johnson insists “there is no strict wage policy in place,” and that “cases will be judged on an individual basis.”

Players who want the money Williams or Olise are demanding “would have to justify it” with better “numbers than [they] have managed in their careers.”

That’s a high bar. We certainly like Chelsea taking a hard line and stopping wages spiralling out of control, but it’s going to be tough to watch us miss out on world class players regularly if this continues to happen.

As Johnson himself points out in his piece, many fans would rather see sums of money like the £19m spent on Omari Kellyman “being put to the wage kitty” to help us sign players like Olise.

Tags Michael Olise Nico Williams
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